The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has welcomed the imminent contempt of court application that the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture will lay against former president Jacob Zuma.
Inquiry chair, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, on Monday said the commission would make an application to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) seeking an order declaring that Zuma is guilty of contempt of court.
“The commission will approach the Constitutional Court and ask it to impose a term of imprisonment on Mr Zuma if it finds that he is guilty of contempt of court. It will be up to the court what it considers appropriate,” Zondo said.
He said Zuma would be given an opportunity to oppose the application by the commission.
This followed a letter from Zuma’s lawyers to the commission stating that their client would not be appearing before the commission due to his application at the Pretoria High Court challenging Zondo’s decision in November 2020 not to recuse himself from the commission.
“This cements our view that Zuma is simply not interested in the rule of law, public accountability and justice,” said the foundation’s executive director Neeshan Balton
“The contempt of court application should be dealt with fairly and objectively, without any preferential treatment being bestowed on the former head of state.
“The rule of law must be applied to Zuma as it would to any other citizen of this country. Failure to do so will set a dangerous precedent and undermine our constitutional democracy.”
Zuma has to respond to the testimony of some 40 witnesses, added Balton. He further slammed Zuma’s supporters who are “beginning to behave like a paramilitary outfit” in a bid to prevent the law from taking its course.
Balton was referring to a group of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members who are camped outside Zuma’s Nkandla homestead to protect him from arrest.
“While such undemocratic acts are usually reserved for desperate tin-pot dictators, South Africans should be concerned that it is now being employed in a bid to protect a former president in our country.
“We have to ask who are these supposed military veterans that are willing to prevent constitutionally mandated law enforcement agencies from carrying out their duties? Our country cannot be dictated by anti-democratic behaviour,” said Balton.